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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, October 09, 2006

Puketutu compost plan upsets Te Akitai

A Waikato kaumatua says the Environment Court was wrong to approve a composting operation on Manukau's Puketutu Island.

The Living Earth plan to recycle garden waste was opposed by the Auckland Regional and Manukau City councils, local residents and tangata whenua.

Sonny Rauwhero of Mangere hapu Te Akitai says Judge David Sheppard's ruling doesn't make sense, given the councils’ long term plan to clean up the harbour.

“What would they say if I stuck a compost heap on the mountain in the Auckland Domain, or thereabouts. So it won’t be a good idea doing that, nor would it be a good idea putting it on Puketutu island. There must be better places to put a compost heap. Why there? That area is a food bowl to us Maori. Always has been,” Rauwhero said.

Sonny Rauwhero says the decision will be devastating for tangata whenua.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says a nine year extension for the Mental Health Commission is good news for Maori.

The commission was due to be disestablished next year.

Mrs Turia says the commission has done a lot of valuable work in its first decade.

“Well I think it’s the advocacy they provide, because they’re not afraid to step up to the plate and raise issues with governemnt. Our people need that. We need people who are fearless advocates, and we don’t have enough of them. The commission has been exceptional, I would have to say,” Turia said.


The chief executive of the largest Maori fisheries business says foreign fishers are happy with the wages they get in New Zealand waters, and the Labour Department should not interfere in their contracts.

The department is proposing to not only increase the minimum wage for workers on charter vessels, but to say that deductions for expenses such as travel and food cannot take the amount paid below the minimum.

Robin Hapi says foreign charters catch about 80 percent of New Zealand's deepwater quota, including much of that fished by iwi companies.

He says the current system is working well for both iwi companies and the fishers.

“They've operated under negotiated arrangements. They are happy with the wages they are getting. They only work for three to six months of the season, go home with their pockets full, and can afford, because the wages are two to three times what they would get in their own homelands, they can afford to have a bit of a rest,” Hapi said.

Robin Hapi says there is a problem with a few rogue operators who pay crews less than they are promised, but that is no reason to penalise the whole industry.


A Te Arawa supporter says the courage of Haane Manahi at Takrouna in 1943 more than merited a Victoria Cross.

The Queen has turned down a fourth petition to award a posthumous VC to the Maori Battalion lance-sergeant for his feats in North Africa, but she created a special award in his honour.

Norman Bennett, the secretary of the Manahi VC Committee, says Mr Manahi showed extraordinary courage when all his officers were killed or wounded attacking a rocky outcrop in Tunisia.

“Manahi was just a lance sergeant at the time. He took over complete control and between him and about 10, may have been even six men, they captured 300 German and Italian soldiers. It was just an amazing feat of the second World War,” Bennett said.

Te Arawa was told this weekend the award will acknowledge God, King and Country, and will include an altar cloth for St Faiths Church in Ohinemutu, a letter from the Queen to Te Arawa, and a ceremonial sword to be worn by the head of the New Zealand defence forces.


The lawyer for the kapa haka group at Rotorua's Te Puia Maori arts centre says the performers have been badly treated.

Mauri. which has been the resident culture group at Te Puia for five years, walked off the job on Friday.

Willie Te Aho says the centre altered performance time and tendered out aspects of Mauri's work without consultation with the group or its leader, renowned performer Taini Morrison.

Mr Te Aho says Mauri is asking for the lawful processes to be followed.
“Because of the caliber of Taini Morrison as an individual and as a person within Te Arawa waka, I don’t think she was treated in a dignified manner. Mauri wanted to make a stand to say to the rest of the country they shouldn’t put up with this process and this type of treatment,” Te Aho said.


Auckland University law student Te Aopare Dewes has been award the second Te Hunga Roia Maori scholarship at the Maori law society's annual hui.

Ms Dewes is the daughter of prominent Maori lawyer and former fisheries commissioner Whaimutu Dewes.

Ms Dewes hopes to eventually return to Rotorua to work for her iwi, but her first job after graduation will be working on resource management issues with the Auckland branch of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts.

“The reason I chose to do a law degree when I was 17 and having to decide what to study at uni was basically because it is a very broad based degree and it does give you a lot of skills, so I knew a law degree would be able to open a few different pathways so when I finished studying I would have a few different options, Dewes said.

The scholarship recognises law students who have participated in the Maori law society's activities, are strong contributors to their iwi and have exceptional grades.


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